Rs 344 crore to be spent to rejuvenate catchment areas

Shillong, Feb 19: Rs 344 crore has been sanctioned for protecting the catchment areas of two rivers, Umiew in East Khasi Hills and Ganol in Garo Hills.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma Monday informed this in Assembly in reply to supplementary questions during the Question Hour on the need to protect water sources.
Conrad said the externally aidedĀ  project was launched just last week to rejuvenate the catchment areas.
“This will be a big step towards protecting Umiew and Gano catchment areas,” he said.
According to the chief minister, the presentĀ  government is one of the first governments to come up with a state water policy and there are multiple projects to conserve the water sources in the state.
“We are also one of the few states to work closely with the North Eastern Space Application Centre (NESAC) and we have mapped 50,000 springs,” he said.
The government is also working towards coming up with over 400-500 reservoirs to store water.
The chief minister said the water issue is being addressed but it is not easy in view of the climate change.
Raising a supplementary question, Leader of Opposition Ronnie V Lyngdoh had urged the government to protect the catchment area of Umiew river.
Ronnie said Umiew river is drying up since very little is being done to protect the catchment area due to large scale deforestation.
UDP MLA from Mawsynram Ollan Sing Suin stressed the need for the government to conserve each and every water source at the village lever.
Public Health Engineering (PHE) Minister Marcuise N Marak said various sources of water which are supplied to the households under Jal Jeevan Mission are surface sources and ground water.
“With a view to lessen the dependency of water supply only from river Umiew at Mawphlang which is the source of Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme, the proposed source of water to cater to New Shillong Township is river Umkhen,” he said.
Further, the minister said the government is also taking several steps to rejuvenate the water sources. “RegardingĀ  JJM, we are also geo-tagging all water sources so that necessary steps can be taken,” he said.
According to the minister, there is no deadline set but the target to complete the implementation of the JJM is by March 2024.
Congress MLA from Mawhati Charles Marngar wanted the government to provide fuel for pumping water for JJM implementation in the state.
In reply, Marak said he would get the matter examined.

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